First Greater Manchester Recovery Tracker Survey Results Released

The results of the first fortnightly GM Recovery Tracker survey conducted by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce show a slight improvement in customer demand as the relaxation of lockdown measures continues.

After a historic collapse in demand during lockdown, the survey reveals an improvement in sales but 43% of the respondents fear their revenues may dip further in the coming weeks. Order books are also still a concern for many businesses with only 21% reporting an increase in advance orders as against the half that reported a decrease.

With customer demand showing improvements, cash positions have improved in the last few weeks. Businesses report that payments from HMRC for staff furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme were all received in time, which has helped cashflow positions.

The impact of COVID-19 on employment has started to be felt across sectors with many established businesses announcing job losses. The survey shows more firms are reporting planned reductions to their workforce with 13% of respondents expecting they will make staff reductions. Since furloughing of staff is no longer possible, it is likely that planned reductions will be in the form of redundancies.

Subrahmaniam Krishnan-Harihara, Head of Research at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “The results reflect the continued relaxation of lockdown measures and the reopening of both the retail and hospitality sectors. The economic fallout from this pandemic is affecting all sectors and all parts of Greater Manchester and the wider North West. There is still a lot of uncertainty, which is affecting business confidence with levels similar to those recorded in June. This could cause some volatility and some hurdles in the path to full recovery.

“Based on the Recovery Tracker results and recently released GDP data, it is unlikely that the UK will experience a rapid ‘V’ shaped recovery. Any improvement is likely to be gradual and spread over the next three to four months.

“Assuming there is no second wave requiring further lockdown measures, the most likely scenario is a Nike swoosh or tick mark shaped recovery, with customer demand expected to return to positive territory towards the end of Quarter 3. This recovery forecast is based on current data and will be continuously updated with the results of subsequent Recovery Tracker surveys.”

The first GM Recovery Tracker survey was conducted between 29th June - 15th July with the support of pro-manchester, Manchester Law Society and North West Business Leadership Team and captured the views of 108 businesses.

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About Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is the largest Chamber of Commerce in the UK, providing business support to approximately 4,500 members who collectively employ 446,000 people, around one-third of Greater Manchester’s workforce. Recognised as a leader in its field, Greater Manchester Chamber’s reputation in government circles has grown locally and nationally. At the heart of the area of greatest economic intensity outside London and the South East, the Chamber is the primary body for business support, policy, representation and networking. The Chamber is an independent, not-for-profit private company and its aim is to support businesses and help create the best climate for the region to prosper. This is achieved by ensuring that those taking decisions on key issues such as transport, taxation and business regulation hear the voice of our members. The representation of our members’ views is central to the work of the policy team at the Chamber; these views are gathered in a range of ways including our local councils, policy committees, sector councils, the main Chamber council, focus groups, meetings with politicians and consultations. The Chamber also offers a range of networking forums across Greater Manchester, free as part of membership, plus a variety of other events and services designed to benefit specific sectors or individuals and help businesses to grow.